Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala, 65, died Dec. 29 in Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. Scala was serving a six-year sentence for extorting money from a Manhattan strip club.
Authorities suspect that Scala (right) was one of four men involved in the 1985 assassination of Gambino Crime Family boss Paul Castellano. That assassination allowed John J. Gotti to take command of the Gambino organization. However, Scala was never charged with Castellano's killing.
Battling liver cancer, Scala requested an early release. The request was denied by the federal prisons system, despite the recommendation of the judge who sentenced him last year. In a letter to prisons director Harley Lappin, federal Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote, "At the time of sentencing I made clear my view that his offense, though serious, did not in my view warrant his dying in prison. I respectfully urge you to look into this man's situation with a view to the possibility of compassionate release of this apparently dying man."
- Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.